Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

by Nic Stone
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The story opens with Scoob and his grandmother already on an epic road trip. Scoob didn’t ask a lot of questions – getting out of his house and strict father who has him on lockdown after being suspended from school for cheating was a no brainer, and with his favorite person, G’ma, even more so. But he’s learning a lot about G’ma as they travel west from Atlanta, visiting sites important to both her and to history (Sixteenth Street Baptist Church among them). Even in 2019, they still get plenty of stares because Scoob’s grandmother is white. She has a lot to share about her previous attempt to trace this exact route with Scoob’s black grandfather in the 1960s, but the details about both attempts come out little by little and shock Scoob, as does the eventual wrap up. My interest was piqued by the fact that G’ma uses the Green Book to guide her adventure both times, but I found I didn’t learn much more about it than I already knew.

I don’t want to give too much away but the road trip comes to an abrupt end before they reach G’ma’s intended destination. They return to Atlanta and the rest of the story wraps up very quickly and not entirely tidily, which is not something you see often in middle grade. I find myself wishing there were a category in between YA and middle grade – and probably speaks to Stone’s background writing YA that she couldn’t entirely give in to the happy ending. My coworker and I agreed (as we completely obliviously blathered on about all the spoilers in front of another coworker who hasn’t read it yet, ooooops) that the abrupt ending was the only real flaw in the story and is far outweighed by the important history and current state of race relations being relayed.

History like: The Parker Inheritance
Untidy ending like: Amal Unbound; Every Single Second; Jumping the Scratch

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